ProgStock 2022 is the sixth edition of an annual volunteer-run event whose mission is to shine light on one of the most exciting and creative genres of rock music, Progressive Rock.
The three keys to our festival, in our humble opinion, are:
- great live music (otherwise, what’s the point?)
- the coming together of a community of people who are now more like a family, thus the ProgStock Family group, including the musicians who become part of our group and join in the fun
- our amazing team of volunteer professionals, and paid professionals (often not paid what they deserve, which is unfortunately almost always true in the music industry) – We can’t thank these folks enough!
Something interesting you might not know about ProgStock, even if you’ve attended before: we encourage all of our musicians to stay for the entire weekend. Why?
- To bring the musicians into the community experience. We want the musicians to become part of the group, mingle with the crowd, watch the other bands, and meet each other. Some folks call it ‘a cruise on land,’ for those familiar with the music cruise concept – everyone hanging out in one space for several days – sharing music, meals, and experiences – getting to know each other.
- The great collaborations that result. Every year, exciting things happen at ProgStock when musicians, who have sometimes never met or worked together, struck up a conversation in advance, because they knew they were coming to ProgStock, or just started jamming in Bob Moog Foundation Park or backstage and Boom! new music is born.
Examples of unique ProgStock musical experiences abound:
- The very first set at ProgStock 2017 featured Francis Dunnery (It Bites), Peter Jones (Tiger Moth Tales, Red Bazar, Camel), and Rachel Flowers. Francis Dunnery and Peter Jones also joined Dave Kerzner on stage for some amazing collaborations.
- Check out this compilation video of our ProgStock 2017 performances to see a snapshot of our first festival.
- In 2017 and 2018, ProgStock was blessed to have Tom Brislin, a New Jersey native, perform both singly and with his band, Gold Rotation, and now Tom is a full-fledged member of the multiple Platinum-selling American rock band, Kansas. In 2018, Michael Sadler joined Gold Rotation on stage for a surprise performance of the Saga classic, “Wind Him Up!“
- In 2018, ProgStock was honored to have the extraordinary talents of Eddie Jobson headlining the festival. Eddie brought an all-star band together to bring us Jobson Plays UK with Marc Bonilla, Alex Machacek, and Thomas Lang. That spring, Eddie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Platinum-selling English rock band, Roxy Music, and delivered this spectacular performance on electric violin, as the first electric violinist to be inducted into Rock Hall.
- Michael Sadler (Saga) and Rachel Flowers released an EP together (3 x 2) at ProgStock 2018
- Enchant was Michael Sadler’s backing band at ProgStock 2018, for Michael’s first-ever solo performance, with Jimmy Keegan (Pattern-Seeking Animals, Spock’s Beard) on drums.
- Then, to top that, Michael brought his son, Seren out on stage, for their first-ever performance together as a father & son duo. Not a dry eye in the place after that one – a true ProgStock moment.
- Check out this compilation video of our ProgStock 2018 performances to see a snapshot of our second festival.
- At ProgStock 2018 and every year since, artist Paul Whitehead has joined us and painted live during a selection of our live band shows. Check out this time-lapse video of Paul Whitehead creating a unique art piece during Phideaux’s set at ProgStock 2019.
- In 2019, ProgStock featured the Juno Award winning and Canadian Platinum-selling rock band, SAGA, and first show of the 50th Anniversary tour of the legendary rock band Nektar.
- Robert Berry and Rachel Flowers performed “Our Bond,” a song written by Robert Berry as a tribute to Rachel’s friendship with Keith Emerson. Another ProgStock moment captured by a fan. Maybe one day they will be inspired to record it!
- In 2020, ProgStock persevered through the pandemic by bringing over 100 live-streamed performances to the living rooms of our audience, culminating in a virtual 2-day festival featuring the classic American prog-rock band, Crack The Sky. We even provided a virtual stage for ProgDay 2020 and a fundraiser for The Bob Moog Foundation we dubbed Moogvember.
- Eddie Jobson came back in 2021 to talk about how important it is to support Progressive Rock music and to introduce the amazing Rachel Flowers. You can read all about that day at ProgStock in this review by Thomas Hatton on Proglodytes.com.
- Rachel Flowers, Joe Deninzon and Alex Skolnick (Testament, Jane Getter Premonition) performed Spain in honor of Chick Corea at ProgStock 2021.
- Steve Unruh, Phideaux Xavier, Valerie Gracious and Ariel Farber came together to open a day at ProgStock 2021 that started and ended with “only at ProgStock” moments. Day 3 closed with a blending of Dark Beauty and Potter’s Daughter. That’s a LOT of talent on one stage! Once again, Thomas Hatton’s review on Proglodytes.com says it better than we ever can!
- Michael Sadler met Shane Atkinson of Evership at ProgStock 2018 and now Michael is the Voice of the New Day on Evership’s new album The Uncrowned King, Part II, for which we will have an album listening party at ProgStock 2022. Hear the full song here.
So why Progressive Rock, you might ask?
Once popularized in the late 1960s and early 1970s by bands like Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull and Rush (to name but a few), the genre has spawned hundreds of bands all over the world ever since its heyday. Despite the near-demise of the record industry that once exposed this music to the masses, artists from all over the world have continued to create this kind of music and have found audiences that cherish it and crave for more.
So, why should you come to ProgStock?
Since 2017, ProgStock has provided a vehicle for these artists to play to audiences and in surroundings that they might not be able to achieve on their own. In that spirit, ProgStock provides its international audience (which includes visiting patrons from Europe, South America, Canada, and elsewhere) with a varied menu of Progressive Rock acts from all over the world (when we can). Although there are (and always will be) many American bands on our roster gaining this valuable exposure, we also try to include some examples of international acts that are either less well-known in the USA and deserve the chance for international exposure, or are seasoned performers with a rich history of musical achievements, as incentive for more patrons to attend the festival. It is exactly the mission of ProgStock to bring such music to our stage, because we strive to be one of the few places in the USA where such music can be experienced by our audience.
ProgStock’s daily performances take place at the Union County Performing Arts Center (or UCPAC) Main Stage theater located at 1601 Irving Street, Rahway, New Jersey 07065. This historic landmark was originally a vaudeville-era silent movie house. First opened in 1928, it is now a beautifully restored multipurpose facility that is the centerpiece of the recently established arts district of Rahway. UCPAC is playing a vital role in the cultural renaissance of the community. The theater is run by a non-profit organization staffed by professional, hard-working employees and is supported by an outstanding volunteer corps and its local community of residents.
After each performance, meet-and-greet sessions with the performers take place behind the theater building in our meet-and-greet tent. You do not need a special pass to attend the meet-and-greets. Everyone is welcome! We bring a selection of each artist’s or band’s merchandise out to the tent, so you can pick up that last-minute CD, LP or poster to get signed, and our annual festival program is filled with autograph pages for each band, so you don’t have to purchase anything to get autographs from every band. In 2022, we are including the festival T-shirt, poster, and program in the price of all 3-day passes, so everyone who purchases a 3-day pass will have an autograph book!
Our Late Night Events now take place right within the Main Stage building, so there’s no need to walk anywhere else to enjoy the festivities! Other locations within downtown Rahway will host our outdoor activities, all within a short walking distance of the theater. We’ve tried to make it easy to enjoy what our festival has to offer you…but, if the spirit moves you, there is the rest of the exciting city of Rahway for you to explore!
Why Rahway, NJ?
ProgStock is the American Northeast’s only Progressive Rock music festival, due to the relocation of another storied music festival, RoSFest, from Eastern Pennsylvania to Florida. We are located in the tri-state area conveniently close to New York City, which attracts patrons and performing artists from all over the USA and the world. Just a 15-minute train ride from Newark Airport with a NJ Transit station conveniently located right in the heart of the city, you can get to Rahway from anywhere in the US or the world without needing to rent a car and even make the festival part of a larger trip to NYC, if you’re so inclined. Check out our list of area hotels to see how many great places you can stay in the Rahway area.
If you have your own vehicle while attending ProgStock, you can drive to the theater each day and park for free in the large parking lot at the Hamilton Stage building a short walk away from the Main Stage theater! Otherwise, you can always carpool with friends…you will see plenty of familiar faces and make plenty of new friends at this festival! Some area hotels may provide shuttle services you can use to get to/from downtown Rahway. Taxi services will be quite aware of the festival and easy to grab (our staff will help you, if needed). Uber and Lyft are available, too…it’s a commuter town, after all! Cost estimates between UCPAC and most area hotels are around $6 (car) and $10 (SUV)…and, at any time of day or night (which is an important thing to consider!). Share any of those rides with friends, and you’ll do just fine!
We continue bringing new experiences to the festival to complement the performances, including special guest appearances and meet-and-greets, fine artists, and the involvement of sponsors and foundations related to music education, historical preservation, and support of independent musical artists. We could not have produced any of these without you, and for that we are eternally grateful!